When you are looking for a home or even a rental, knowing more about your potential home's demographics can be a huge asset in the decision making process. Hotpads.com provides a bounty of options to narrow down your home search but it really shines by plotting the homes and apartments on your local map in with monopoly-esque icons, making it easy to find a location that suites you.
You can even place a heat map of the median age to make sure you aren't ruffling too many feathers by moving into the unofficial old folk's neighborhood in your area. Our sister site, DownloadSquad, highlights what appears to be the most useful heat map, rent ratio, which is a comparison of mortgage versus rental rates. If the rental rates in your area are low, you may be better of renting for the time being.
One top of the many demographics you can use, Hotpads also lets you find public transportation and schools located near your potential home. One additional feature which I found really cool, was that once you find a home you are interested in you can quickly see what the estimated monthly payment would be based on an your interest rate and down payment. This let me quickly rule out homes that were outside our monthly price range.
While the demographic information is useful and may help you pick a neighborhood which suits you best, the overall display of information really sold me on Hotpads.com. I am still pretty new to our town, which means most home searching discussions go something like this, "Hey check out this house on 123 Anywhere St.", my wife, "Holy cow! Don't you know where that is!?!" I think this map layout will be especially useful since the number of homes in our price range rises with the shadiness of an area. Now I can quickly figure out the actual location of a house, not just the abstract street name shown in our local paper's listings.
Hotpads.com: Map based home searches